Blue Angel pilots Lt. Andre Webb and Lt. David Steppe pose with Ten-Broeck Elementary students, Mayor Henry Braun and Abbotsford International Airport representatives shortly after landing on Tuesday. Kelvin Gawley/Abbotsford News

VIDEO: Blue Angels touch down in Abbotsford, answer kids’ questions

U.S. Navy aerobatics team will end 15-year airshow absence this August

Abbotsford got its first touch of a Blue Angel in 15 years on Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy elite aerobatic team’s No. 7 jet landed at the Abbotsford International Airport with a roar just after 2 p.m.

Pilots Lt. Andre Webb and Lt. David Steppe were in town to review operational needs in advance of their performance at this year’s Abbotsford International Airport – the Blue Angels’ first appearance since 2003.

“We’re here for a winter visit,” Steppe explained. “We’re here to do some long-term planning for our show in August. What we’ll look at is the airfield itself. We’ll also take a look at the aerobatic box which we’re going to fly in to produce a safe but exciting air show.”

Steppe said he and Webb would also be checking out local accommodations and transportation in advance of the Angels team coming this summer.

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The pilots were greeted by a Grade 5 Ten-Broeck Elementary class, who held a “Welcome Blue Angels” sign and waved as the plane taxied in.

The students then had a question-and-answer session with Steppe and Webb. They asked about the pilots’ years of experience, how high they can fly and whether they get sick while performing aerobatics (they don’t, generally).

Webb said meeting enthusiastic young people with interesting questions is the best part of being a member of the Blue Angels.

“It’s pretty awesome, actually, when you stop and think about what we do and putting out the message of doing good in whatever it is you decide to do in life.”

The Abbotsford International Airshow runs from Aug. 10 to 12 this year.

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